ARTIST:Wang Family Workshop
DATE:late 13th-early 14th century
MEDIUM:Tz’u-chou ware Stoneware with iron-brown painted décor on a white slip under transparent glaze
DIMENSIONS:6 1/8 x 16 1/4 x 6 3/4 in. (15.56 x 41.28 x 17.15 cm)
CREATION PLACE:Asia, China
The Taoist scene depicted on this headrest suggests a ritual performed in honor of Chang-e, the Goddess of the Moon. A well-attired woman is burning incense at a table in a garden. Two tall pines, a tai-hu garden rock, bamboo, and a pavilion complete the scene. The front panel encloses a camellia branch with two blossoms, and the back displays a fantastic bird amidst peonies. Other auspicious flowers (a lotus and peony) adorn the side panels. Dense, leafy scrollwork fills the corners of each register. During the Chin and Yuan dynasties (10th-14th centuries), the rectangular pillow shape was often used for pictorial representations reminiscent of paintings on silk, paper, or in illustrated books. Popular subjects included narratives from literature, history, theatre, and as the case is here, Taoist beliefs. The bottom of this pillow bears a three-character seal mark of the Wang family, a family workshop of Tz’u-chou potters famous for their pillows.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts